Early identification of skill needs concerns research and analysis at national, regional, local, sectoral and occupational levels as well as analysis of skill needs of specific target groups, such as the low skilled, those at risk, the disabled, minorities, and others.
Approaches mainly include enterprise and labour force surveys at different levels, forecasting techniques, case studies, analyses of job advertisements, expert inquiries, scenarios, and observatories on skill developments. Similarities across territories, sectors and occupations help to identify common European or international trends in skill requirements. Examples are the ‘green economy’. tourism, logistics and new technologies (nano-/biotechnology, fuel cells, etc.). Priority is given to holistic approaches and to innovative solutions in research and analysis that can cater for the time gap between the actual change in demand and the policy and implementation response.
The transfer of findings into policy and implementation of reforms are of central importance and involve all actors – policy makers, social partners, training organisations and researchers – to ensure the acceptance and legitimacy of reforms.